Eckhard J. Schnabel’s Acts in the ZECNT set

is forthcoming!  I know there has been lots of excitement over Craig Keener’s new work on Acts – but I think there is an equally great complimentary work that has come out that will make doing exegesis and preaching in this Ah-ma-ZING book that much more enjoyable and enriching!

Schnabel, Eckhard, J.  Acts.  Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.  Zondervan, 2012.

That’s right!  The great scholar on Paul and Christian Mission has written a commentary on the Book of Acts!

Here is a description!  Well there isn’t really a super great description yet other than:

With attention to issues that continue to surface in today’s church, the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series offers pastors, students, and teachers a focused resource for reading, teaching, and preaching the Book of Acts. Acts highlights (1) the work of God through the exalted Jesus who grants the presence of the Holy Spirit; (2) the significance of Jesus who is Israel’s Messiah and the Savior of the world and who directs the expansion of the church; (3) the work of the Holy Spirit as transforming power present in the lives of the followers of Jesus and their communities; (4) the identity of the church as the community of God, comprised of Jews and Gentiles who are followers of Jesus; (5) the mission of the church whose leaders take the gospel to cities and regions of the Roman Empire in which Jesus has not yet been proclaimed as Messiah and Savior; (6) the historical events and the persons who played a role in the expansion of earliest Christianity.

1168 Pages
Published November 2012

You can be sure however, it will be in the same likeness as others in the set where each chapter has outlines and chapter summaries and comments, etc.  It’ll be a great complement to something as massive and scholarly as Keener.

The Trinity in Gender Debates

I admit I got sucked in to the whole idea of social trinitarianism – it sounds nice but I guess I may need to re-think it all.

Fred Sanders has finally let his thoughts about it all be known – he doesn’t think talk about the Trinity and Gender relations or Community relations should happen in the same conversation.  One belongs to the doctrine of God and the others are more suited to discussions in theological anthropology.

(This is me Brian talking here) It seems once and yet again it is all a possible case of “pulling the God card.”  God becomes a victim of humanity.  He gets used to help us all push our human agendas to exert authority over one another or to usurp from one another.  Shame on us I suppose.  Good thing the Lord isn’t subject to our attempts to wrangle him into our nice little boxes…

Go here to read the full LONG blog post on what Dr Sanders has to say about the Trinity and Gender Debates.


Dangerous Calling – 80% off @WTS Books!

WTS books is offering pastors, elders, & seminary students a new book on the pastoral ministry called Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Crossway, 2012).

Here is a description of the book (there is also a DVD) and a comment about the author:

After traveling the globe and speaking to thousands of churches worldwide, Paul David Tripp has discovered a serious problem within pastoral culture. He is not only concerned about the spiritual life of the pastor, but also with the very community of people that trains him, calls him, relates to him, and restores him if necessary.

Dangerous Calling reveals the truth that the culture surrounding our pastors is spiritually unhealthy – an environment that actively undermines the wellbeing and efficacy of our church leaders and thus the entire church body.

Here is a book that both diagnoses and offers cures for issues that impact every member and church leader, and gives solid strategies for fighting the all-important war that rages in our churches today.

232 Pages
Published October 2012

About the Author:

Paul Tripp is a gifted and sought after speaker and the author of many popular books, including What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, Age of Opportunity, and Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. President of Paul Tripp Ministries, he also serves as Professor of Pastoral Life and Care at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and as the Executive Director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. He and his wife, Luella, have four grown children.

Here is a video:

Ephesians and the Drama of God

The other day I learned of Stephen E. Fowl’s recent contribution to the New Testament Library Commentary set, Ephesians: A Commentary.  I tweeted about it and asked if any one knew much about it since it was so new and I hadn’t seen any reviews.  Chris Tilling said to be sure to get it as Stephen is the real deal.   A little while later that day, a friend blessed me with a copy (Thank You!) and I can already tell it is going to be good and one you are going want to get your hands on!!   Dr. Fowl is a leading scholar on the theological interpretation of Scripture and he incorporates that into this work on Ephesians!  Michael J. Gorman calls it a “truly theological commentary.”

Well, for me at least, how do I know it is going to be good?  🙂  Feast upon this short snippet summarizing Ephesians chapter 1:

Following the opening greeting, Paul offers a blessing to the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” On the one hand, this directs praise to God and invites the Ephesians to likewise praise God. Moreover, this blessing also allows Paul to narrate God’s drama of salvation, a drama that was initiated before the foundation of the world and that reaches its climax as everything is brought to its proper end in Christ. This drama is cosmic in its scope and consequences.  In addition, God has graciously incorporated the Ephesians into this drama.  Indeed, the presence of the Spirit in the Ephesians’ midst confirms their incorporation into God’s drama of salvation (1:3–14).

This leads Paul to offer a prayer on the Ephesians’ behalf. The hope of this prayer is that the Ephesians will come to understand the significance of God’s drama of salvation and Christ’s particular place in this drama (1:15–23).

I love it!  Paul is narrating the great drama of God’s redeeming work in Christ to redeem all creation and especially to include us in that process!  A story that reaches back to the very beginnings of time and space!  A story that each one of us, who is “in Christ,” has a part in (he later talks about how Eph 2 tells more of our incorporation in to the great drama of God in Christ!)  A story that each one of us lives out in the different contexts of our own lives and situations and circumstances!

Yeah, this is gonna be a good one!  🙂


A Pauline Theology of Charismata

that is a book I learned about recently and picked up on Amazon… Siegfried S. Schatzmann’s A Pauline Theology of Charismata. It has Ben Aker’s name in it (my NT and Greek prof from AGTS) so I know it is going to be good!  🙂  (It is a bit dated though, 1987, so it would be nice to see an update).  As I see it, a solid theology of the Charismata is still pretty underdeveloped even today, let alone a good robust theology of the Holy Spirit though I know Levison has been making some headway with that.  🙂

Social Gospel Quote of the Day

I learned of this article and came across this quote within:

any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them …is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not sure of the original source.  google it and i think it just takes you back to this article.  still nevertheless and at the same time, i found it an interesting and informative article on a number of fronts.  and a good quote.

i travel in circles where there tends to be a lot of back and froth about how much attention Christians and or the Church should be giving to care for the poor and the oppressed.  Some just think it is old school “Social Gospel” stuff which they think is washed up marxism.  Others see it is merely an extension of the overall mission of the church – maybe a simple outworking and demonstration of gospels transforming power.

The way I see it, well, I am still working out how I see it.  I know some may tend to go overboard with it all and many others need to do more.  Psalm 146 declares that the Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord protects the foreigner; He supports the fatherless and the widow, and the thwarts the way of the wicked.

These things are all echoed through out the Hebrew Scriptures: the law, the prophets and the writings – the Hebrew Bible bleeds from one page to another with cries of injustice and oppression and cries for freedom and deliverance – the Prophets especially confront it all and proclaim a coming deliverer…

The question might be, well, how does God go about thwarting the way of the wicked, overcoming injustice and oppression bringing freedom and deliverance?

Well, from what I can gather, all this comes through his chosen people, first Israel and now the Church – it is through you, me, and all who are Christians, who have Christ and the Spirit in us who are to go about pursuing the Lord’s cause among the Earth!  It is to be done here and there, far and wide, in this place and in that far away place – wherever the Lord should have us or lead us, that is where we are to pursue the causes of the Lord.  Pursuing God’s salvation to the ends of the earth (Isa 49:6) involves not just sing people “saved” but also to partner with the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord to fulfill the mission of Christ in Luke 4 (quoting Isa 61): to bring good news to the afflicted; to bind up the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners and to proclaim the favor of the Lord!

So I don’t really understand folks to get fired up about opposing acts of (social) justice…


On the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Gordon L. Anderson, President of North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has written probably one of the finest articles one is going to read on the issue of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and evidence of speaking in tongues.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Initial Evidence, and  a New Model, as published in the Assemblies of God journal for its ministers licensed or ordained.

Really, it isn’t going to get much better than this in terms of quality and scholarship.  Dr. Anderson is a great scholar, pastor, and college administrator.

Here is a portion:

What do Pentecostals mean by the baptism in the Holy Spirit? I think that a definition can be set out that does not claim to be comprehensive, but identifies the major elements in this Pentecostal experience. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is significant additional power for life and ministry given by God subsequent to salvation. The Baptism is characterized by a deep sense of the immediacy of God’s presence. By virtue of this, a deep sense of mystery and emotion is often experienced. It is also characterized by speaking in tongues.

Speaking in tongues establishes a noncognitive and nonrational communication with God. It is not antirational. It is an immediate contact with God that does not include human words, nor can it be expressed in human words. This experience results in added faith in God, increased power and gifts for ministry, increased emotion and passion, and an enhanced awareness of the experiential dimension of God’s presence in the life of the Pentecostal believer. The baptism in the Holy Spirit does not and cannot take the place of the other necessary spiritual experiences that God has provided for His believers.

Now, a critical question. If the baptism in the Holy Spirit confers additional power for ministry, how much additional power is gained? A little? Quite a bit? A dramatic amount?

To get the answer…. you’ll have to read on.  🙂


some really great thoughts here for those in seminary!

Faith Improvised

We had an interesting discussion in class yesterday about the challenges of enduring church life while in seminary.  My students are a joyful bunch who love Jesus and his people, but they reflected honestly on the difficulty of dealing with the disconnects between what they study in class and what they observe in church. It is soul-upsetting to critically reflect on Christian realities in classes and then to participate in less-than-ideal Christian practices on Sundays.

This led me to reflect a bit on my own struggles to maintain a proper posture toward the church while inhabiting an environment of critical biblical and theological reflection.

Unfortunately, a seminary education can sometimes (though not always) produce a phenomenon we might call “the seminoid.”

I should know.  I was one.

(NOTE: Friends and family are NOT welcome to share stories in the comments below!)

The seminoid has a superior attitude toward “the laity,”…

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Does Jesus Claim to be the Messiah?

Here is a 5 minute video with Dr.s Walter Kaiser, Michael Brown, and Darrell Bock (all contributors to The Gospel According to Isaiah 53) discussing whether Jesus claimed to be the Messiah foretold in Isaiah 53.

About the book:

Publisher’s Description: The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 presents the redemptive work of the Messiah to the Jewish community, exploring issues of atonement and redemption in light of Isaiah chapter 53. It is clear that Jesus fulfills the specifications of the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. This book has many potential uses in its presentation of the gospel for Jewish people. Pastors who study it will find unparalleled help in preparing Bible studies and sermons, so that their listeners will become better equipped to tell Jewish people about Jesus. It will be beneficial as supplemental reading for classes on Isaiah, the Prophets, and Jewish evangelism. And believers will be trained to share Isaiah 53 with Jewish friends and family.

Quote of the Day: Samwise Gamgee in The Two Towers

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.

Sam: I know.  It’s all wrong.  By rights, we shouldn’t even be here.  But we are.  It’s like the great stories, Mr Frodo.  The ones that really mattered.  Full of darkness and danger they were.  And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy?  How could the world go back to the way it was…when so much bad had happened?  But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… Even darkness must pass.  A new day will come.  And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.  Those were the stories that stayed with you… that meant something.  Even if you were too small to understand why.  But I think, Mr, Frodo, I do understand.  I know now.  Folk in those stories… had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t.  They kept going because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo.  And it’s worth fighting for.

-Frodo and Samwise Gamgee in captivity at Osgiliath after Sam saves Frodo from the Nazgul (Movie edition…)   🙂